In response to a soothsayer

Published: August 25, 2012
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The writer is Sindh’s minister for information and archives

The writer is Sindh’s minister for information and archives

Journalism is a noble profession; over the years, those belonging to this profession have had to suffer a lot in order to protect their professional integrity and reputations. However, with the passage of time, deterioration in ethos has set in among many so-called journalists. Through their acts of omission and commission, they have reduced the integrity of this noble profession into a farce.

An article in Jang titled “Chalte Chalte” (August 20), which was written by Mr Shaheen Sehbai, reflects this deterioration of ethos. The allegations contained in the article are nothing more than a figment of Mr Sehbai’s imagination. He calls upon state institutions not to let the people named in the article flee the country because of their alleged involvement in corruption. These people include, among others, Salman Farooqui, Rehman Malik, Dr Asim Hussain, Faisal Raza Abdi, Babar Awan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Hussain Haqqani and Farooq Naik.

While levelling these unfounded allegations, the writer failed to realise that there is an independent judiciary active in the country and many of the people he mentioned have already faced the court and proved their innocence. This fact was actually acknowledged by the writer himself; despite this, it is preposterous that he is still demanding that these people be investigated and arrested. What kind of journalism is this and what kind of ethos is it based on? To discover the truth, we need to look into Mr Sehbai’s past. He has been known to claim credit for drafting the Charter of Democracy but everyone knows that it were stalwarts of both the PML-N and the PPP who burnt midnight oil to make the charter possible.

Here, I am going to cite some of the predictions that Mr Sehbai has made in his articles over the last five years that will enable the readers to determine the veracity of his analysis. On August 6, 2010, in an article that appeared in The News and Jang, he claimed that a cold war was going on between the GHQ and the presidency and concluded that the days of the government were numbered. On September 17, 2010, he claimed that the MQM will soon part ways with the coalition government; the PML-N is poised to bring a no-confidence motion against the prime minister; the president will face impeachment and the apex Court will disqualify the prime minister. On July 25, 2011, he informed the nation about the formation of a government comprising 20 technocrats. On December 8, 2011, he claimed that the president had been admitted to a Dubai hospital due to an ailment and since recovery from that ailment is not possible, he will not return to Pakistan.

However, it is known to all that the president soon returned to the country; there was no coup by the army; and the then prime minister bowed before the decision of the apex Court to avoid a clash of institutions. It is unfortunate that all his false and absurd predictions failed to restrain him from making more such predictions. Now, Mr Sehbai is calling upon state institutions to arrest the 29 persons mentioned by him. There is, indeed, financial corruption in Pakistan but to launch a crusade against it while sitting in the US is not appropriate. He should come to Pakistan and then expose all wrongdoing through substantial evidence and not through mere speculation and conjecture, which lead one to think that he has ulterior motives.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Arifq
    Aug 25, 2012 - 9:58PM

    Shaheen Sehbai is the same gentleman who was witness to the evidence against Arsalan Chaudhry and believed in its credibility, wonder what happened to that story?

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  • Tribune fan
    Aug 25, 2012 - 10:00PM

    We are with you Sharjeel. All urdu language media is against PPP.

    PPP is the only center-left party while all others are ring wing to ultra right wing.

    Thanks to Tribune that your article has been publishe

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Aug 25, 2012 - 10:27PM

    Believe me that one could see the corruption and incompetence from far away better than being in Pakistan and we compare their shenanigans to the American politicians, not that Americans are squeaky clean but far better and are accountable than their counterparts in Pakistan. When you say that Zardari came back from Dubai after the treatment what ever ailment he had, the fact is that why go to a pip squeak country for medical treatment while the same could be found in Pakistan and if not, then the government has failed to establish world class hospitals in Pakistan. When I look at these names, almost all of them are tainted and has become millionaires with no apparent mega incomes, it is fair to ask to look into their finances in and outside Pakistan, did they pay income taxes on these huge resources in their banks in Pakistan and abroad. You will see when new government takes over these same people will fly the coop and live happily ever after with the ill gotten money. I will include in the list the current President and his prime minister too and ask them to explain where did they get these financial resources, we know about Zardari but Rental Raja has some explaining to do to the nation.

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  • Falcon
    Aug 25, 2012 - 10:34PM

    Sharjeel Sahab – Spare me the drama. I have grown up seeing this method of discrediting people in Pakistan since childhood…which is shifting blame, citing their past actions, or quoting misplaced predictions in the past and everything in between WITHOUT providing rebuttal of the original allegations.

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  • Dr Saifur Rehman
    Aug 25, 2012 - 10:44PM

    Thanks. Sharjeel. Yar actually, section of media is biased, corrupt and spreading false propaganda against PPP. It is totally baseless and shmeful act. it is yellow journalism. In a society where journalists cross redlines of the ethics for the sake of fame and money, such society is called “DEAD SOCIETY” and it is simply a death warrant for the nation.
    In fact Journalists don’t just perpetuate such blame game for the sake of fame and money. There are numerous totally foolish stories made by paid journalists. This is the fact. They have continously been violating code and standards of journalism by their biased views. they make stories which contain the elements of untruthfulness, lack of accuracy and complete partiality.
    The common elements of ethics of journalism, comprising of some principles which are:
    1. Truthfulness
    2. Accuracy
    3. Objectivity
    4. Impartiality
    5. Fairness and public accountability
    Do paid journalists ever follow these principles in their professional practice? Due to their habitual story making obsession, no one is going to believe in them, people say it is again just biased views and sensationalism!
    Yes sensationalism, which is their potential strong weapon, is repeatedly used by them time and again. There is something amiss. Our nation is under the seige of such unethical journalists who are not following codes of ethics of journalism and every other day new story is surfaced by these paid journalists.
    PPP is popular in masses and people have almost rejected such yellow journalism.

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  • Saner element
    Aug 25, 2012 - 10:50PM

    So Mr.Memon you want to dictate the Apex Courts too ?.Stop creating boogey men to distract your voters from Interior Sindh .It is time to answer to your voters ,the poor masses who voted you out not to reside in the Posh Defence area with posse of police like a prince .

    It is time to payback .

    Urdu media is quite neutral unlike the Sindhi channels , watching them one feels at a total loss of mind .

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  • Tch tch
    Aug 25, 2012 - 10:55PM

    So Shaheen Sehbai is on to something… I am going to read his article now….

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  • Logic Europe
    Aug 25, 2012 - 11:10PM

    Mr sehbai is a pseudo intellectual paid by dark forces todiscardit a democratically elected government People like him are not journalists but speculators rumour pushers and mere commentators with no real substance,As a matter of fact a law should be framed to prosecute people who damage democracy while sitting in western democracies
    MR memon and mr Abdi are telling the truth,, A corrupt judge is a much bigger danger to democracy than a minister prime minister or any other government official

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  • Ejaaz
    Aug 25, 2012 - 11:12PM

    @falcon: you never read the original charges! There are not any. Shaheen merely claims that the named are corrupt. Why don’t you show some of the charges that you want addressed?

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  • Parvez
    Aug 25, 2012 - 11:35PM

    Corruption is a white collar crime and very difficult to prove because as another very credible and senior journalist, now retired, correctly said that a thief never gives a receipt for what he takes. Although the author has made a case of sorts, it is hard to digest.

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  • elementary
    Aug 26, 2012 - 12:17AM

    @Dr Saifur Rehman: The attributes you numbered ,does any of ppp member have even one of these.What about a society which have political leaders like these isn’t that a “DEAD SOCIETY” too.

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  • White Russian
    Aug 26, 2012 - 1:10AM

    Sehbai is the same guy who ran to US during Musharaf’s rule. He started a web site against Musharaf, and then at the end of 2005 suddenly closed it without explaing to his readers.
    After that day I never heard of any of millions of wrongs with Mush he counted day and night at satribune.com. Was all his righteous outrage about the right price? We ‘ll never know.
    How can we believe him? His sensational soothsaying and dishonest posturing is the reason I stopped reading The News years ago.

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  • nabidad
    Aug 26, 2012 - 6:56PM

    Mr. Sharjeel, you are a brave member of the Pakistan’s largest party. There is only party in my beloved country, which is none other than the “Pakistan Peoples Party,” that is way you can not find a single jiyala in other parties. Yes, if there is any other party then it is Muttahida Quami Movement, rest all are the ‘looteraas.’ So, please do not give any attention at the person – no matters if he is any kind of journalist or a foreign agent — but, please, this is a high time to put all the efforts to counter the biased judiciary which is running out of its domain.

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  • S.H
    Aug 26, 2012 - 7:21PM

    Dear Sharjeel Sb, I do not endorse Shaheen Sehbai and indeed he was wrong in writing such bluntly without any proof. However it is actually the perception widely developed that the PPP is corrupt and coming up with such concocted stories easily turns our gullible people to believe in.
    But it is also a fact that the current ppp government miserably failed to provide even the very basic necessity of Roti, let alone Kapra aur Makan.

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  • Malik
    Aug 27, 2012 - 12:43AM

    Sharjeel Memon you have no credibility, nor does your party. What have u delivered in past 4 years other than killings, unprecedented inflation, lower growth rate than even Rawanda, worst energy crisis and massive plunder of the state and its assets.

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  • Maqsood Kayani
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:44PM

    Thank you so much, Sharjeel Memon sahib, for pointing out Mr Shaheen Sehba’s article “Chalte Chalte” (August 20) to us for I would have missed it otherwise. I have also shared Mr Shaheen Sehba’s article “Chalte Chalte” with all my friends.

    Thanks again, and bless you.

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